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Kindle Update - Traveling without a battery

I had to go to the UK recently and took my Kindle along. I put some thought into my Kindle use before I left and ended up with things not working out as I planned.

The planning went into the trip because I usually read on planes and I expected to have lots of time flying from Denver to London and back. Since the Kindle can't purchase books overseas I read quite a few samples in the weeks before I left and then purchased about 10 or 12 new books to take with me. With the 3 or 4 I was reading, I had plenty to do.

That was good since I got stuck in Chicago with a broken plane overnight and read 4 books before I got to London. Plus I was partway into 2 more.

However I didn't really work on my computer on the way over, which was a problem. I didn't charge the battery in Chicago and by the time I arrived in London, my battery was almost dead. By the time I got through a day of work in London and back to the hotel, the Kindle battery was completely dead and I couldn't charge it.

The Kindle has a special charger, and despite being a miniUSB plug, it doesn't work with most mini-USB chargers, like cell phone chargers. There is a USB cable, which trickle charges, but it won't get things charged unless you can boot the Kindle first. I couldn't and spent all week without anything to read until Thursday night when I went to a Borders and bought a couple books.

From Thur night to Saturday night when I got home, I read 5 books and started a 6th. It was a hassle to carry them around, especially on planes with my bag stuffed with 5 paperbacks and overflowing. I missed the Kindle during those times, wishing I'd brought the charger.

Why didn't I? I have a travel adapter, but only one and the last time I was overseas, I was struggling to get things charged. Between my laptop and cell phone, I knew I'd be competing for plugs and so I brought the USB cable. What I didn't count on was running the battery low and not being able to charge that way. I did buy a 2.5A, 5V charger in the UK, but it didn't work. I read online that there is a Samsung charger that works, but I couldn't find one in a few stores and didn't have time to search widely. Amazon.uk has one, but they didn't have express shipping or I would have ordered one.

I learned a few lessons here. One is that I need to charge more regularly on the road. Two is that I should just bring the wall charger. Three is that the Amazon Kindle team are idiots. How much money could they be making from selling spare chargers? Why wouldn't you just use a blackberry compatible charger? Poor, poor design choice.

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Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest


Posted by nwlibrarian on 26 January 2009

Forgive me, I know I'm such a "librarian," but as much as I'm into technology I still feel there's nothing like the old paperback(s). When I travel my case contains my laptop, chargers, hand-held, and a couple paperbacks. There's something about the feel of a "book" in my hand.

Posted by Andy Warren on 26 January 2009

Sometimes paper works out pretty well:-)

Posted by Steve Jones on 26 January 2009

There's a difference, and I used to notice it more, but now I get drawn into the stories. Having paperbacks in my hand wasn't that much better than having the Kindle. Coming back across the water, a guy a few rows up from me had a Kindle and I Was a bit jealous his was working.

Posted by Brad M. McGehee on 30 January 2009

I hear that a new version of the Kindle will be coming out soon. Maybe it won't have the drawbacks you described.

Posted by Anonymous on 7 January 2010

The Kindle 2 was announced recently and it’s on sale at Amazon , starting shipping Feb 24, 2009. I’m

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